For 80 years, the Delta Phi (D-Phi) Fraternity has been a member of Kenyon’s Greek community. That’s about to change.
While the organization will remain a group on campus, they are rebranding themselves next semester as coeducational, cutting ties with their national fraternity organization and getting a new name.
“We just don’t really feel, at the moment, proud to be a Greek organization or proud to wear the letters, so we want to change to better outfit us,” D-Phi member Marshall Ghalioungui ’21 said, “and make it more clear to other people what we want to accomplish as a group and what we want to stand for.”
According to members, the group has discussed potential rebranding as far back as last spring and talk has been ongoing since the beginning of this academic year. The organization plans to use this semester to officially separate from their national organization, create a mission statement, establish fresh values and determine a new name. They are also interested in putting together novel events and collaborating with other groups. These activities will serve as a through-line as they transition to a non-Greek organization next semester.
“To us, we’re already trying to become this new group every week, in everything we do—thinking about how we can do it as this new group,” Cooper Murray ’21 said. “But also I understand that in the eyes of 2,000 other people it can’t just be an overnight shift.”
Delta Phi is the oldest continuously running fraternity in the United States. Kenyon houses one of D-Phi’s nationwide chapters, making the fraternity one of the smallest Greek organizations in the country. The removal of Kenyon’s chapter will leave only nine active chapters.
D-Phi’s members believe that this change is for the better. Moving away from the historical and contemporary associations with fraternities — toxic masculinity, dangerous hazing, sexual misconduct and a lack of diversity — are a major force behind the group’s decision to disaffiliate.
“That’s a big motivation behind dropping the Greek letters. We think it creates an aura of exclusion around them, and we think that in the future people would feel more comfortable approaching the group, thinking about joining the group, coming to the group events if we didn’t have these big sort of intimidating, historically rooted letters,” Ghalioungui said. “But even if we’re still a group of 20 people, which might be the case, we would still be much happier if we had something that we were more happy to show, something that we were more proud of.”
Members also expressed optimism about the novel opportunities that becoming a non-Greek organization will bring, especially when it comes to collaborating with other student groups, establishing community outreach efforts and opening up the organization to students of all gender identities.
“We’re working on the mission statement—we’re gonna release it really soon—but we’re going to be playing to our strengths as a group with a lot of artists in it that contribute to the campus,” Murray said. “Contributing to the campus in a very real way is going to be one of the main focuses of the rest of our time here, so that we can leave something behind.”